Mike Lantry, 1972
Holy crap. On occasion sportsbloggers will level tenuously-supported accusations of plagarism at members of the MSM. Usually these amount to hot air. Sure, it might be suspicious that some dude came up with the same article idea you had a week after you posted yours, but there's no proof. And if it's a list, well... lists are lists. They're going to be ubiquitous, largely identical, and contain the same basic information about the selections. That's why lists are the ultimate weapon for lazy sportswriters.
The end result is a lot of indignation over nothing, a blogospheric speciality. However, once ESPN radio hosts start reading your material word for word on-air... um... yeah, that's proof. This happened to The M Zone: Colin Cowherd read most of an extensive post on-air and attributed it to (wait for it... wait for it...) "The Internet." This causes EDSBS to query:
Did Cowherd Steal MZone Material?
...which isn't even a question in this case. It's verbatim; there's audio on the site; case closed. This isn't the first time this has happened, either, if you believe Free Darko and their fatwa against the latest Simmons intern. The question is: why does ESPN have to be such a douche about it? One simple sentence from Cowherd ("I found this at The MZone, which is located at michiganzone.blogspot.com") would have caused purring instead of a further run at Ann Arbor Torch & Pitchfork, Inc. The consequences for ESPN? Probably not catastrophic.
The word "intern" probably holds the key to this entire situation. Cowherd takes words fed to him from his handlers, packages it up in annoying dumbjockinese, and speaks into a microphone. He was handed a sheet of paper of uncertain provenance and read from it. Some communications major from Kansas State hopped on the interwebs, found something, and dutifully fetched it. This happens elsewhere too: check this word-for-word ripoff of the entire thing on a (gasp) blog. Source cited:
(Originally posted on: THE BOARD...if you don't know, you better ask somebody)
The point? The error here -- from both Cowherd and the disreputable blog -- is one of omission, not comission. Someone at Cowherd's show found the material in his email or some message board. They didn't lift and steal intentionally. However, the Worldwide Leader has the resources to, I dunno, cut and paste a key phrase into Google to see if there's someone who should be credited... but why? We're just "the Internet" to them.
Weis joke? Fulmer joke? I can't decide
Should I go with the Fremen (blogs) - House Harkonnen (MSM) comparison here? No? Geekiness at a credibility-shattering level? Possible grounds for sterilization? Okay. I'll skip it. But I will reiterate my belief that one day the Shield Wall will be breached and the hordes of desert savages will replace the kind of sportswriting deader than the trees it comes on with something, I dunno, readable and edifying. And people who actually like sports will write about it and Colin Cowherd will get the Jennifer Connelly treatment. And in between there will be kickass ninja fights and Sting.
Update: Cowherd's response:
WE WERE SENT IT....WE HAD NO IDEA..BUT THE INCESSANT WHINING...MEANS I WON'T GIVE YOU CREDIT NOW..GET OVER IT
So... check on the theory. Also proof that Cowherd, not me, is the one who needs sterilization right quick. OMG ALL CAPS LOL.
Update II: It took all of an hour for the proprietor of the blog cited above to say this:
I had no idea this was originally posted here. A freind of mine sent it to me; I just assumed he had typed it. Rest assured I will be posting an apology later in the day. Once again; I am sorry. I know it comes across as bush league, but I really didn't know.
You are invited to compare and contrast.
...everything looks like a hammer, to invert a common aphorism. Tomorrow Michigan meets a hammer in Grand Forks; the day after they may or may not meet a second. This disorienting year has come to its final act, and it has all the horrific confusion and desperation of Requiem for a Dream: is Jennifer Connelly really rocking a double-headed dildo for coke? Is Michigan hockey really going into a first-round NCAA game hoping for a miracle?
Yes. Yes. The ultimate accomplishment of Requiem -- other than making me fear those who voluntarily purchase the DVD -- was to divorce the noun "Jennifer Connelly" and verb phrase "rocking a double headed dildo" from the exclamation "I'm there with bells on!" And so it is with the
Season Year of Infinite Pain, the noun "Michigan hockey," and verb phrase "playing North Dakota in the NCAA tournament."
For the first time in memory, everyone from Red Berenson on down seems resigned to the fact that Michigan doesn't really have a chance. Sure, they could beat North Dakota. Hockey's a weird game sometimes. But beating North Dakota and Minnesota back-to-back is too tall a task for a team that can't go a weekend against Ferris State without blowing three points or crack 20 shots on goal against a resurgently repulsive Michigan State team of Masonic vintage.
Yes, this is the point at which I am contractually obligated to remind you that the last time Michigan entered the NCAA tournament as unthreateningly as this the year was 1998 and their second championship in three years was three weeks in the future. As Brendan Morrison accurately said in '97, sometimes the best team doesn't win. But the team with shaky goaltending, middling forwards, and spastic defensemen is not the presumptive favorite in their place.
Despite that, we're playing. Thus, a preview of the West regional, Wonk 360 style. Even if he's not saying anything about the NIT... though he is getting badgered about it(!). (Cough cough: keep it up (mailto)) :
Pretournament book: Oh, yaaaah, der real good, donchaknow? Boy howdy.
Stars: Ugh. The top pick in this year's NHL draft is going to be either Minnesota's Phil Kessel, North Dakota's Jonathan Toews, or Minnesota recruit Erik Johnson. Kessel -- regarded by many to be the best American hockey prospect since Mike Modano -- has 50 points in 38 games this year... and Ryan Potulny outscored him by thirteen points.
Strengths: The country's top offense by a country mile. Though they're second in goals per game with 4.15, the top team -- Mercyhurst -- plays in the college hockey equivalent of the MAC. Michigan is the closest major conference team to the Gophers and they're a full half-goal back. The Gophers have the nation's top powerplay, best record, largest scoring margin, and smuggest, most punchable fans -- unfortunately, for good reason.
Weaknesses: Minnesota's scoring has been more concentrated than is usual. An excellent checking line that can neutralize the Potulny-Kessel combo would make Minnesota awfully uncomfortable. The crowd will be out for blood, too. If Yost could turn CC-Wayne State into a game... naw.
Probable Fate: Is there a God? Well... yes, but this year has proven he doesn't like me. So national champions.
#4 Holy Cross
Pretournament book: Atlantic Hockey's sacrificial lamb this year. They may put a scare into Minnesota, but this is Duke-Southern territory.
Stars: Haggis-loving Tyler McGregor is the nation's seventh-leading scorer.
Strengths: Given Bill Simmons' grating insistence on belittling college sports and hockey at every available opportunity, if he decides to show up at his alma mater's opening round game he'll probably enrage those around him to the point where a giant, game-cancelling brawl breaks out, spawning a Deadspin poll:
Who Would Win In A Fight?
A. Bill Simmons
B. The State of Minnesota
I'm going with A on the assumption that Sprewell has left the building.
Weaknesses: Likely to be shell-shocked by the talent on display. There's no one in Atlantic Hockey comparable to... well, half the Gopher roster.
Probable Fate: A dismissive mention in a Simmons mailbag.
#2 North Dakota
Pretournament book: The Sioux... er... Anonymous, Inoffensive Indigenous Peoples are one of the hottest teams in the country. They've won the WCHA tournament and find themselves playing at their home rink in front of what promises to be a rabid, Yost-ian crowd of partisans out for blood after the infamous 1998 North Dakota-Michigan game.
Stars: Multitudinous. As mentioned, Toews is a candidate for the #1 pick in the draft, and he's the team's fourth leading scorer. Travis Zajac, TJ Oshie, and Drew Stafford are all outstanding players and first-rounders themselves. The defense is young but immensely talented. Junior goaltender Jordan Parise has a .932 save percentage... and a 2.12 goals against average.
Strengths: Playing at home, which is three times the size of Yost and made entirely out of gold the Nazis stole during the war or something. Almost as much talent as Minnesota, playing better than them recently, and with a much better goalie. The best defensive team in this regional by a solid margin -- eighth in the country.
Weaknesses: Much like Michigan, North Dakota is a young team. Freshmen occupy large swathes of the top two lines and defense pairings. Stafford, who missed the last couple of weeks for the Sioux, is still listed as day-to-day. He'll play but may not be effective -- not that Stafford's absence prevented North Dakota from winning the WCHA tournament. Only 1-3 against Minnesota this year. Late-season run may be a mirage: three games against Mankato, two against Tech, one against SCSU. Only a win over Wisconsin stands out.
Probable Fate: Will play pretty even against the Gophers, but people make too much of the last few games of a season. Minnesota was 20-5-3 in the WCHA. North Dakota was 16-12. The Gophers are the superior team and should win the regional despite the partisan atmosphere.
Pretournament book: Talented but erratic, Michigan is young... and fairly stupid. There's no dominant player outside of defenseman Jack Johnson, who's prone to poor decisions and unnecessary penalties.
Stars: Lacking. The aforementioned Johnson was the third pick in last year's draft. TJ Hensick is a slick, diminutive center in the mold of Cammalleri and C0mrie before him but his game has not progressed this season -- stripped of now-Islander Jeff Tambellini, Hensick has taken the scoring burden on himself and not been as effective. Seniors Andrew Ebbett and Brandon Kaleniecki have been the most consistent Wolverines, but neither is the kind of player you have to gameplan against.
Strengths: Well... there is talent. Hensick, Cogliano, Kolarik, and Porter can all burn you given time and space. Jack Johnson really is that good when he's not trying to axe your head off.
Weaknesses: If you can forecheck you will be rewarded with copious turnovers. The goaltending has been good for a soft one a game. They don't have the cohesion to crack a well-constructed trap. They take dumb penalties. The defense is alarmingly porous at inopportune times -- even (and perhaps especially) the putati
ve top pairing of Hunwick and Johnson. They're only playing five D.
Did I leave anything out?
Probable Fate: Ignominous defeat followed by many, many reassurances that everyone is returning. Two weeks before the season starts, the LA Kings are abducted by Hamas on an NHL publicity trip. Sean Avery gets everyone killed by saying something about camel jockeys. The entire Michigan team is signed to replace them.
A brief note: there will be a memorial service tomorrow at 7:30 for Faz Husain at Pioneer High in Ann Arbor. All are welcome to attend.
Orson penned an ode to YouTube earlier in the week that I second, mainly because the "embed this" code makes blog video a simple matter of C&P. Today's find is amateur footage of Tuesday's improbable Dion Harris gamewinner. Observe:
That's eerily reminscent of Brendan Loy's video from the end of the USC-Notre Dame game. The above is the equivalent of the first video in which the Irish students rush the field in a Papist flood reminiscent of some historical incident which my readers will no doubt correct me on within six nanoseconds*. Say the... uh... third crusade(?). Yet to be found is the analog to the second video, which featured stunned Irish fans moments after the Bush Push. Not that I looped that for a solid week last fall. Five days, tops.
Anyway: in this hypothetical conclusion, the guy who screams like he's being eaten by a bear realizes that this is still the NIT and Jerrett Smith is the starting point guard next year. Even the bear gets depressed.
This is like one of those video games in which at the end, you have to defeat all of the bosses you've already beaten throughout the game.
TV is ESPNU, unfortunately, so no one will actually see the game.
Update: Maize 'n' Brew also discusses the rainbow.
*(You mean you missed yesterday's panel discussion on the Eastern Front in 1941? You missed out.)
(HT on the video: Third and Five)
Appearing on Judge Judy in the near future: Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer author Warren St. John? Yep. The owner of the RV featured on the cover of the book is suing for all sorts of pain and suffering caused by others thinking that St. John owns the vehicle. Or something. It's a ridiculous lawsuit, but ever since that Fulmer thing Alabamans (-ians? -ers?) are getting legally upitty.
However, it must be pointed out that St. John has exposed himself to another lawsuit, this one for Cruel And Unsual Punning:
This suit is toadly without merit.
Aaaigh! The pain! The suffering! I can feel the punitive damages gathering in my joints!
You have to hand it to Dennis Dodd. Generally non-vagrants have a set of positive attributes that lead to their gainful employment and subsequent non-vagrancy, but Dodd manages to accomplish this feat despite a total lack of the aforementioned positives. His latest (...well, "interview" would be technically correct but fails to capture the spirit of the thing; let's go with...) sycophantic tongue-bathing of NCAA president Myles Brand is an outstanding example of his general uselessness:
Q: I thought your State of the Association was provocative and in some ways, brilliant. I don't think there would be a lot of people that would utter those words: You can make money and still have an educational mission at the same time.
Which isn't even a question. It's more a USK*. So, Dodd says stuff like that and would be a strong contender in a nationwide Gollum look-alike contest... and he's not a panhandler? Well done, sir!
DawgSports and EDSBS have already savaged Dodd and Brand, respectively, so I'll leave you in their capable hands and second Kyle's call for a Brand-Orson tete-a-tete, in which the questions would be less like...
Your eyes bespeak a terrible lonliness. Has the absolute power you wield over mere mortals distanced yourself so much from the puny remainder of humanity that you can never love again?
A follow up: if the answer is no... well... you know. Of course you know.
...and more like...
You have ten seconds to explain why I shouldn't shoot you and f*** your skull.
I've advised patience re: APR enforcement before and still think that it is a step in the right direction, but it's hard to not abandon that position in favor of radical fire-breathing when confronted with the torrent of corporate-speak that comes from the NCAA at all hours of the night and day. Such nonstop doublespeak is reminscent of campus activist groups who were incoherent but very, very angry and very, very noisy. Sensing that any cross-examination of their position would result in the swift and permanent loss of credibility and an awful lot of stammering, the bullhorn types flooded the zone with so much noise that actual thought was impossible. (Yes, sort of like the White House -- now I have bashed both Republicans and campus lefties and may continue unmolested, si?)
So it is with the NCAA. Their rules are byzantine, archaic, and incoherent, simultaneously exacting and ridiculously lax. (Remember this?
In 2000, the N.C.A.A. began allowing high school administrators to determine the legitimacy of their own core courses. Three years later, the N.C.A.A. began allowing students to compensate for low College Board scores with higher grade-point averages.
Good times.) Instead of dealing with the multitudinous valid complaints directed at the NCAA, we get articles wherein Dodd is honored to pick the ticks from Brand's scalp.
Meanwhile, on "Mondays With Myles" the critical subject of discussion: the dangers of rushing the court. Because that's the most pressing issue we've got right now. Yep. Nothing else to address. Save the childrens!
*(Unicorn Soul Kiss.)
The power of Bilas compels me. Sure, he can be a bit sneery from time to time, but Jay Bilas is one of the best color guys in college basketball. He offers insight instead of cliche. I even forgive him for going to Duke.
Anyway, the power of Bilas compels me to claim fair use on a passage from his latest Insider column that had me mentally aping Meg Ryan ("YES! YES! OH YES!"):
Deserving of the NCAA or not? That's not the issue.Too many people are evaluating these NCAA Tournament results in a vacuum, and trying to justify inclusion or exclusion by virtue of this weekend only. Sadly, that is not the way college basketball works; it never has been and ever will be. Remember, there have been upsets in years past, and there have been bigger upsets in years prior to this one.
Has the Missouri Valley Conference justified its four bids? Were the Big East and the Big Ten overrated? Did Air Force, UAB and Utah State confirm they should not have been included in the field of 65?
The answers are no, no and no. ...
This tournament is about matchups and single-game scenarios. It is a completely new season, and everyone is 0-0. ... A lot of games have come down to a single play to determine the outcome. Nobody ever said these teams couldn't play. ... Heck, many teams in the NIT are capable of winning an NCAA Tournament game on a given night. That is not the point, and it never has been. When you get down to the end of the line in the selection process, the teams all look the same, and all of those teams have proven they can lose. The measure is how many good teams were on your schedule, and how did you do against those good teams.
Thank you, Mr. Bilas. Nothing is more annoying than hearing someone either trash or laud the committee based on the outcome of a single game. The problem with this year's tournament selection and seeding had everything to do with the committee ignoring common sense and years of precedent, and such things can't be wiped away by a weekend's worth of games where the weighted coin flips came out in such and such a pattern. But CBS employs a large number of broadcasters that don't understand sample size, or for that matter, the word "courage,"** so the grating of teeth is commonplace.
**(Weirdest call of the tournament thus far was in the Tennessee-Winthrop game, tied with something like three seconds left. A Tennesse player took the inbounds pass and threw up a fadeaway, falling-out-of-bounds prayer that was answered as time expired. The announcers then gushed about the UT player's immense courage to take that shot in that situation. Presumably the coward's way out was to stare at the ball, gibbering until the horn sounded. Or something. You could chalk this up to a momentary lapse of judgement, but only if you hadn't been listening to Cliches On Parade for the previous two hours.)
Warrior-poets practice, too. BGS has some relevant questions about the Irish as they head into spring practice.
Etc.: Steve Hutchinson is now the richest guard in the history of the NFL
; Avant broke a hand at pro day and still hasn't run his 40. Yes, everyone hates those damned Applebee's commercials. It's not just you. They're making more, and I cannot urge this strongly enough: DO NOT EAT AT APPLEBEE'S. INCH has a Jack Johnson interview.
This went in:
And thus Michigan advances in double OT and proves that the basketball team does indeed have the worst sense of timing since Hitler decided to invade Russia in winter. It also proves -- and you're going to have to permit a healthy dose of solipsism here -- that the team exists to spite me and my viewing habits, since I didn't watch the game. Bad me. Hey, I'm not alone.
I refer you, instead, to the Michigan Sports Center and Schembechler Hall, who did watch it. I'd like to think that the kids at Blue-Gray Sky are stewing in agony this morning, but... uh... probably not. Nothing yet on their hoops sister blog.